Terminal Three electricity quest

At Heathrow there are inumerate banners, animations and promotions proclaiming the availability of “the wireless web”. The T-mobile extortions have even come down in price (to 5 quid an hour – still hurts… Narita is 5 quid-ish for 24 hours) to entice the 802.11 enabled further.

However, there’s still the old problem of electricity. Terminal Three seems to be full of false electrical dawns. Plugs by comfy chairs that don’t deliver any juice when you hook up to them. After trying about 4 of these and not getting anywhere, I homed in on a pack of tanned middle-aged men with a complicated array of “fannypacks” and rucksacks. “Aha – silicon valley middle management types!” I thought.

Lo and behold they had discovered the electrical watering hole. FYI – it’s by the central pillar if you draw a line between Dixons and Hugo Boss.

Crisis over, I’m now getting a little bit of extra charge on my iBook for the inflight emergency episodes of Alias if the movies suck.

So, the question is – why don’t T-mobile and BTOpenzone spend a little bit of their marketing budget on signage or seating by electrical outlets?

Perhaps even underwrite a little interior design or minor capital works to get a couple of extra outlets in there. It would probably encourage a lot more usage of their services, and cost very little. Having some kind of physical locus would encourage things like interchange between experts, novices and the curious – further word-of-mouth marketing and free technical support.

It would help travelling wifi users with little time on their hands to explore for electricity, make incremental sales, and create warm-and-fuzzies about the brands involved.

Why not?

It’s all fun and games until someone loses an “i”


BBCi is no more! The BBC.co.uk homepage has ditched the BBCi identity in favour of what people outside the BBC peskily persisted in calling it, despite spending lots of funny money on marketing.

What a relief. One hilarious consquence of the BBCi branding was how often when I met people external to the corporation or where introduced at an event at first they thought I worked for BCCI, the disgraced financial institution.

So far good.

However the new logo isn’t, shall we say, “all that”.

I’ll lay odds it was designed by a corporate identity design agency, and looked great on a powerpoint or on a piece of foamcore; but it really doesn’t survive on the webpage. I’ll also lay odds that a designer or client-side coder inherited eps files from the bigshot agency and cursed them as they struggled to reduce it to the size on screen with out it looking too ratty at the edges.

Their hard work was in vain. There is no need for this vainglorious logo other than having given marketing managers something to nod sagely about for a couple of months and sign cheques.

It’s literally a waste of space, occupying prime real-estate with tatty nonsense that doesn’t tell you anything that the URL you’ve entered, or the nice discrete classic Lambie-Nairn designed BBC logo in the top-right hand corner, or for that matter the demoted-but-distinctive doesn’t already tell you.

Also, BBC – the design agency you hired haven’t ready the BBC’s corporate identity guidelines – or they have wilfully ignored them.

Lambie-Nairn’s guidelines state that the boxed-capitals of B, B and C are Solid Colour (black, white, green, whatever) with the letterforms “punched-out” from the solid colour, revealing through them whatever colour is behind (as in the top-right-hand-corner version). The letterforms are not meant to be white on colour as executed here.

Also – what are those psuedo-3D planes behind the BBC.co.uk doing on a site which has done so well in the last couple of years in reaching a lovely, consistent, graphically strong ‘2D’ aesthetic?

What the hell do they signify? What do they add?

It’s really a shockingly bad, sophomoric logo which should never have made the cut, even if it was deemed there was sufficient reason to retro-brand the site.


Ah well. I’m sure the rage will subside and I’ll get used to it, like I did BBCi.


The Guardian interviews people on their experience of Improbable Theatre’s Lifegame, “in which a show is improvised around an interviewee’s life story”

“In some cases, Improbable’s versions of my memories have almost replaced my actual memories: the way they did my mother singing around the house; the way they described how I came to read drama at university, creating puppets out of newspaper. They asked me how I would like to die; it wasn’t something I had particularly thought about, but I said dying on a limestone ridge in the Mediterranean would suit me fine. Now every time I go on holiday and go walking on high limestone ridges, I remember their depiction of that scene. “

If someone tells a better story of your life to strangers than the one you actually lived, it may lodge itself in the spotless mind…